A group of National Lacrosse League All-Stars are heading to Melbourne, Australia on the 23rd and 24th of October where the best players in the world are booked in for a two-game extravaganza at Hisense Arena, which is one of the freshest venues in town.
The National Lacrosse League All-Star Series (for more info, visit nllallstarseries.com) will feature some of the NLL’s top names, including Gary Gait, Casey Powell, Geoff Snider, and Brodie Merrill. Lacrosse Playground has for you some initial mock-ups of the jerseys the teams will be wearing for the event.
Also, in preparation for the game, we spoke to Aussie Laxer Evan Willis, who, along with Tim Fry, helped push the creation of this event. Willis schooled us on everything we need to know about lacrosse in Australia. Check out his list of the Top 10 things you need to know about Aussie Lax
10. We’ve been doing it since 1876: When a Canadian gold miner name Lambton Mount decided that his childhood sport Lacrosse was better than Australian football, rugby and soccer. He was right and for him we are thankful!
9. We are outnumbered! Lacrosse is a small sport in Australia with a maximum 10,000 men’s and women’s players, predominantly in the Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth areas. Unfortunately these same cities are also the hotbeds for Australian Rules Football.
8. Club Lax – Most sport in Australia is based on the English club system rather than through high school or college. Lacrosse clubs, which are organized around suburbs, have teams from Under 11’s up to Open Age (some clubs have active players from 8 years old up to guys in their 50’s) in both men’s and women’s lax.
7. We go both ways: With a maximum of 16 a team in Men’s lax, most players, especially middies, have to play all day and at both ends of the field. This has meant that lots of Aussie middies who have played in the U.S. have found the recent trend in the NCAA for two-way midfielder fit their game nicely.
6. There are lots of Aussies in High School, College, and Professional lax- Australian kids have played at West Genny (NY), Manhasset (NY), and St. Paul’s (MD), just to name a few. Likewise we have had and still do have players at big D1 programs like Loyola, North Carolina, Maryland, Georgetown, and Towson, as well as a constant presence with D2 programs Adelphi, NYIT, and Pace. We’ve also had a number of players in the NLL and MLL.
5. Can you hook a brother up? Lax gear is ridiculously expensive down here (think $425 for a CPro7) so anytime a friend or even a foe heads to the U.S. you can be sure that they’ll get a friendly Facebook message or e-mail begging for some fresh gear (“preferably custom, mate”).
4. Our women’s lax is phenomenal. Jen Adams, Hannah Nielsen and a 2005 World Championship gold medal. All from a player pool of about 2000 dedicated Women’s Laxers. ‘Nuff Said.
3. Bros, anyone care to lax? Lots of Americans and Canadians come here to play and coach. Pretty much every club team in Australia currently has or has at some time had American/Canadian guys and girls come down under for a little vacation/study abroad and some lax. With a legal drinking age of 18 in Australia they all seem to have a good time!
2. Aussie lax can be brutal. Because most Australian kids grow up playing and watching Australian football and Rugby we are taught how to tackle and body check our opponents (without any pads) at an early age. This is generally adapted to lacrosse. Body checks that would get you fouled out in the NCAA are just how it’s done here. Oh, and absolutely no shoulder pads or mouth guards unless you have just had surgery.
1. Despite the minority sport status and lack of resources that Aussie lax experiences we still have a fantastic core of people who love the sport through and through in all of its forms. Lacrosse has had a presence in Australia for more than 130 years and with any luck it will be around for another 130.
Please note that Lacrosse Playground feels the need to add one more Aussie lax fact. We’ve been to several World Championships and find the Australian lacrosse fans to be the most enthusiastic, by far, which should make for an interesting All-Star event.
For more information on the NLL All-Star Series, visit NLLAllStarSeries.com.